Misunderestimating
    BushCo’s shamelessness

Bushites think the Osama tape is good for their guy. Worse, they’re willing to say so.

Why is the Bush campaign like a limbo dancer?

Because every time you’re convinced that a limbo dancer has gone as low as humanly possible, he goes lower:

Campaign operatives for both candidates were quick to suggest the bin Laden tape would help their side … Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona told the Associated Press “it’s very helpful to the president,” because the videotape “focuses America’s attention on the war on terrorism.”

Cheney told supporters in Ohio that “we have all seen the tape of bin Laden,” which is “a reminder” the U.S. is engaged in a global war on terror.

— (SF Chronicle)

“We want people to think ‘terrorism’ for the last four days,” said a Bush-Cheney campaign official. “And anything that raises the issue in people’s minds is good for us.”

A senior GOP strategist added, “anything that makes people nervous about their personal safety helps Bush.”

He called it “a little gift,” saying it helps the President but doesn’t guarantee his reelection.

New York Daily News)

That’s right. Mr. Bush, having (1) announced that he wanted bin Laden “dead or alive; (2) let bin Laden escape from Tora Bora; (3) said publicly that he didn’t much care where bin Laden was; and (4) publicly denied ever having said that he didn’t much care where bin Laden was, is now delighted to have bin Laden’s assistance in scaring the voters into voting for him.

And no one in the mainstream press is going to call him on it, either. Kos has some polling numbers suggesting it won’t work, but the fact that it’s even being tried is a pretty gross insult to the intelligence of the voters.

Just remember: Watching democracy in action is pretty depressing if you think of democracy as a noble project of collective self-government. But it doesn’t look nearly so bad if you think of elections as an alternative to civil war.

Hat tip: Brad DeLong (who supplies the relevant quotation from 1984.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

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